SKATING: KGGS student Sophie is on the short track to success

Sophie Robertson (right) on track.

Sophie Robertson (right) on track.

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Short track speed skater Sophie Robertson was in action at the annual Scottish competitions at Stirling and Auchenharvie last weekend.

Thirteen-year-old KGGS student Sophie skated against boys and girls at this competition and was victorious, final taking top spot on both days after some great races where she had strong competition and some great tussles with another great skater, Ollie Rowe, who had travelled all the way from Guildford to compete.

During this season, she competed at the British Championships where going into the final day she was lying equal first in her category. Whilst leading the final race, she unfortunately fell while defending the lead but was able to pick herself up to finish the race in second place.

Sophie, who lives at Elston, was also presented with the skater of the year award by the National Ice Skating Association. This is awarded for overall points gained by placings in competitions and also by the number of domestic competition attended. Sophie amassed 296 points; her nearest rival, the reigning British champion, had only 98 points.

Sophie started out as quite a successful figure skater who was chosen for the NIC figure skating academy, however after a short time she decided that she preferred the thrill of short track speed skating and asked to concentrate on that instead.

She has made significant progress, collecting a large haul of trophies at domestic competitions, where she competed against boys and girls of the same age group, but unfortunately sustained a serious ankle injury after she crashed out whilst overtaking another skater during on ice training at the end of the 2012/13 season.

Undeterred, Sophie was back training in October 2014 and competed at all the domestic competitions during the 2014/15 season where she continued to make steady progress during her rehabilitation. She was back on form last season 2015/16 and was again competing aggressively against her former rivals within the domestic competitions.

She started this season off with determination, missing out on a podium place only once in five domestic competitions, where she was beaten only by the top three boys in the country within her age group.

Sophie’s commitment and improvement last season culminated in her gaining her Starclass time, which means that this season she is eligible to skate amongst the highest ranked skaters in Europe for her age group

She won all of her races against strong competition in Belgium earlier this month and is this week racing in her first ever International Starclass Competition in Italy.

Sophie’s father Richard said: “This is a new learning curve for Sophie and she is hoping to give a good account of herself, but it is not expected that she will feature amongst the honours at this competition due to her international inexperience and the fact that she is up against the best skaters from all over Europe.”

Richard said that Sophie is hoping one day to better the achievements of her cousin Matt Jasper who represented Team GB at the Lillehammer and Nagano Winter Olympics.

Richard himself is involved in the sport as a referee and will be officiating at the British Championships in January.